By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
Five Boise State football players — including four members of the standout defense — made the All-Mountain West first team, released Tuesday.
All are first-time honorees.
Junior center Matt Paradis was the lone Bronco on the first-team offense. Senior defensive tackle Mike Atkinson, sophomore defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, senior linebacker J.C. Percy and senior cornerback Jamar Taylor made the first team on defense. Percy is the first Boise State inside linebacker to make the all-conference first team since Korey Hall in 2006.
Sophomore wide receiver Matt Miller, junior offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., senior offensive tackle Brenel Myers and senior cornerback Jerrell Gavins made the second team.
Boise State’s honorable-mention selections were senior tailback D.J. Harper, sophomore safety Jeremy Ioane, senior linebacker Tommy Smith and junior defensive tackle Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe.
The Mountain West’s award winners were Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr (Offensive Player of the Year), Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas (Defensive Player of the Year), Hawaii kickoff returner Mike Edwards (Special Teams Player of the Year), Fresno State wide receiver Davante Adams (Freshman of the Year) and San Diego State coach Rocky Long (Coach of the Year).
Carr led the Mountain West and ranked ninth nationally with a rating of 160.64. Thomas led the nation with eight interceptions, including three for touchdowns. Edwards ranks sixth in the nation in kickoff-return average and scored three touchdowns. Adams led the Mountain West in receptions (89), receiving yards (1,168) and receiving touchdowns (13). And Long earned a share of the Mountain West title, a first for the Aztecs, by winning at Nevada and at Boise State with a backup quarterback.
Nevada had the most first- and second-teamers with 10. Fresno State and Boise State had nine. San Diego State had seven.
Notes on the Broncos who made the first and second teams:
Paradis — Anchored the line that produces 173.1 rushing yards per game and ranks seventh in the nation in sacks allowed (.75 per game).
Atkinson — He contributed 37 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a game-winning interception return (vs. BYU) in nine games before tearing an anterior cruciate ligament.
Lawrence — Junior college transfer led the Mountain West with 9.5 sacks in his first season. He recorded a sack against five of the seven Mountain West teams he played.
Taylor — He has 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks, eight pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three interceptions.
Percy — He leads the team with 101 tackles, the most since Hall in 2006. Teammates named him the defensive MVP.
Leno — He moved from right tackle to left tackle this season, so he has provided the back-side protection for the Broncos’ quarterback for two years.
Miller — He leads the Broncos with 60 catches for 679 yards and five touchdowns. He isn’t as flashy as some, but his value to the Broncos’ pass game is immeasurable.
Myers — He wasn’t even expected to start when the season began but he locked down the job at right tackle and, after showing promise in the past, delivered the consistent play coaches wanted to see.
Gavins — He made 29 tackles and two interceptions this season. He and Taylor are the top reason that Boise State ranks seventh in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
Of the nine, four are from Idaho (two), Montana or Canada. The others are from California (two), Florida, South Carolina and Texas.
Here is the full release from the Mountain West.
Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Tom Rinaldi will be the announcing team for ESPN for the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.